Tomato Essence

1 kg very ripe tomatoes
1 stick celery
1/2 baby fennel
1 small Carrot
4 peeled shallots
10 basil leaves
3 stems of persley with roots
2 sprigs of thyme
1 sprig of tarragon
3 cloves of garlic
150ml sherry vinegar/red wine vinegar
80g sugar
5g salt
10 black pepper coms

1. Cut tomatoes, vegetables and herbs into small, uniform pieces and place in a large glass or plastic bowl (stainless steel may also be used).
2. Using the back of a knife, roughly crush the pepper and add sugar and salt to tomatoes int the bowl.
3. Sprinkle vinegar over mix abd using your hands, combine all ingredients thoroughly making sure that everything is evenly spread.
4. Cover the mix with plastic wrap and leave in a warm area for 3-5 hours, stirring every hour or so.
5. When the tomatoes have started breaking down, pour the mix in stages to a food processor and blitz until juicy.
6. Pour tomato juice mix through a fine strainer with a few layers of cheese cloth and place over large container to catch the liquid. Place in chiller until the pulp is dry.
7. Remove liquid from the shiller and using a ladle, skim the top away slowly and again pass the mix through cheese cloth, Be careful not to disturb the sediment at the base.
8. Season to taste and serve hot or iced. You may want to add a dash of tobasco and Wiltshire sauce to make a 'Bloody Mary' style drink or soup.

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